Adam Scott wins the Honda Classic

Adam Scott taps in for the win at the Honda.

Adam Scott taps in for the win at the Honda.

Adam Scott was able to hang on in the final round on Sunday at the Honda Classic, defeating Sergio Garcia by a shot to claim his first win of the 2015-16 season.

What Happened

Coming into Sunday, it seemed like there was really only two potential winners at PGA National. Scott and Garcia were tied at the top at 9-under par, with the group of Blayne Barber and Justin Thomas sitting behind them at four and five shots back. Scott started out hot with a birdie on the opening hole and was solid for the first eight holes in all areas of the game, going two-under par for that stretch on a very tough track. Garcia was holding steady despite seemingly not hitting a decent approach shot on the entire front nine, relying on the putter to bail him out of several spots that should have put him far behind Scott on the leaderboard. Scott struggled on the 9th and 10th, leading to back to back bogeys and with Garcia starting his day with ten consecutive pars, we were back to a tie at the top on the 11th tee.

Garcia would make his first bogey of the day on the 11th to Scott’s par, but the par-4 12th was the biggest hole of the day for the final group. Garcia found the middle of the fairway from the tee, while Scott pushed his drive into the fairway bunker on the right side. He had a good lie, but it was still a shot that required all of his attention and with Garcia watching in the fairway, Scott stuck one in close.

Adam Scott with the shot of the day on 12.

Adam Scott with the shot of the day on 12.

Garcia was unable to hit the green and Scott was back to a two-shot lead as the players headed to the final stretch. Garcia would cut the lead to one with a birdie on the par-4 14th, but he couldn’t avoid trouble on the Bear Trap, making bogeys on 16 and 17 and despite some questionable putting by Scott over the final few holes, he was able to hang on to win by a shot.

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Adam Scott -9
  • 2. Sergio Garcia -8
  • T3. Blayne Barber -5
  • T3. Justin Thomas -5
  • 5. Graeme McDowell -4

What The Win Means For Scott

When Hideki Matsuyama won a few weeks ago in Phoenix, I mentioned that when he’s even a little warm with the putter, that Matsuyama is very difficult to beat and no one has embodied that over his career more than Scott. Last week at Riviera, he was a +1.188 in strokes gained putting and he finished in second place. This week, he was a positive again and he came away with the win. I’m more than willing to eat my words at a later date, but we see this from Scott every year where he gets hot with the putter, anchored or not, and he usually ends up fading away again when the putter runs cold. Scott is one of the best ball strikers in the world, but even though he was better this week with the putter, it’s still difficult to put the last few holes he played out of my mind and a lot of that has to do with watching him play for the last fifteen years.

Ultimately, I don’t see this win as something that changes much for him, which by the way, isn’t really a knock on him because he’s still one of the best players in the world today who can go low at any point, but I’m not there with him yet when it comes to the putter. The particulars:

  • Earns $1,098,000 for the win.
  • Earns 500 FedEx Cup points, moving him to third place behind Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Kisner.
  • Moves from 13th to 9th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
  • First PGA Tour win since the 2014 Colonial.

What The Loss Means For Garcia

The replies to Kyle’s tweet above are interesting. Personally, I’ve always been a Garcia apologist when it comes to situations like this and while it’s easy to look at the way he closed out the tournament and say “Well, he choked another one away!”, it’s not always that simple. Garcia shot 71 to Scott’s 70 and finished one shot back on a day where it was clear from the very beginning that for whatever reason, he didn’t have anything going on. The ball striking that got him to the top of the board over the first 54 holes was non-existent on Sunday, and it was actually the putter that kept him alive for far longer than he probably deserved to. Much like Scott, Garcia is almost impossible to beat when he’s got the putter going because you just assume that his naturally great ball striking is going to show up, but it just didn’t happen this week.

Is there scar tissue with him when it comes to contending on a weekend? Absolutely, but I’m still a believer in the idea that if you put yourself in contention enough, which Garcia does because of how talented he is, that you’ll end up coming out on the right end of things an awful lot. On the other hand…

Sergio Garcia is the most interesting man in golf, and I don’t think there’s anyone even close.

Tiger’s Simulator Swing

When Tiger tweeted out the swing video last week, he had one goal in mind: to silence people who said that he basically had one foot in the grave. Anyone can see that this is the swing of a man who is nowhere near ready for tournament action, and you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Tim Rosaforte has reported that he’s started to hit drivers as well, which might point to him being back sooner than we think, but with Tiger and his camp, it’s admittedly difficult to decipher what is fact and what is fiction. If I had to guess, I still think we won’t see him until the summer at the very earliest, but even that seems like a stretch.

Jack’s Ryder Cup Dinner

On Thursday night, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus hosted a get together for Davis Love III and potential members of the 2016 Ryder Cup team and as you can see above, there were A LOT of players though. Some of them you’ll recognize for sure, but you’ll be forgiven if you can’t quite pick all of them out (Hi, John Huh!). Apparently the criteria was that you needed to be in the top-40 in the Ryder Cup standings as of a week or so ago to get the invite, which I guess is a decent way to do things and slightly better than what I envisioned when I saw the photo, which was Love handing out wristbands to anyone at PGA National with an American passport.

However, you’ll also notice that some big name players were absent from the photo. Jordan Spieth was likely home in Texas, Zach Johnson had to get up early to finish his first round on Friday and Bubba Watson was missing too, but they definitely got the invite. Someone who didn’t get invited though was Justin Thomas, who you’ll notice finished tied for third this week and is currently the 31st ranked player in the world. He didn’t get the invite because he was ranked 42nd in the Ryder Cup standings at the time, so he just missed the cut.

Seriously? Look, it’s not really going to matter much in the grand scheme of things because I’m sure Thomas will be there at the end of it, but it’s a bad look when the people in charge of the team are not inviting the most talented and deserving players to these things.

Best Moments

Tweets

Shots

Sergio.

Sergio.

Adam Scott from 251 out on 16.

Adam Scott from 251 out on 16.

Rory with the perfect trace,

Rory with the perfect trace.

Sergio draws one from the trees.

Sergio draws one from the trees.

#TourSauce

Rory with a practice swing twirl.

Rory with a practice swing twirl.

Animals

Chesson Hadley vs. the geese.

Chesson Hadley vs. the geese.

Sergio keeps the bird away from Adam.

Sergio keeps the bird away from Adam.

Attire

Gary Woodland, sans pants.

Gary Woodland, sans pants.

Broadcast Moments

Frank Nobilo is a little beaten up.

Frank Nobilo is a little beaten up.

Just Like Us

Been there, Will.

Been there, Will.

Parting Shots

  • Notables to miss the cut: Rory McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Daniel Berger, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Anirban Lahiri and Patrick Reed.
  • Injury report:
    • Hideki Matsuyama withdrew prior to the start of the second round with a right hip flexor. He is scheduled to tee it up next week at Doral.
    • Carl Pettersson withdrew during the second round after carding a front nine 45. He didn’t give a reason for the WD but he did pull out with a wrist problem a few weeks ago.
  • Best wishes to Jason Bohn, who is recovering from a heart attack suffered on Friday at the course. Hope to see him back in action soon.
  • Don’t worry about Rory, he’ll be fine.
  • Feel free to worry about Keegan though, who has five top-10 finishes in his last 42 starts.

Next Week

Doral, where we’ll get to see and hear Donald Trump, so that’s fun. The field will be great since it’s a WGC event, so it should be a good time.

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